Have you ever stopped to consider what our children face at school in a day—learning new concepts, stressing over a test, forgetting their lunch money or dealing with a bully? That’s usually the norm for elementary, but what about middle and High school kids? The pressures are much stronger for them.
My daughter’s first year of Jr. High School was a tough one. She came home crying for the first few weeks, and again, ever so often, throughout the year. Apparently, over the summer, an alien spaceship captured her elementary friends and returned them to earth as mean, cruel, competitive creatures.
“What’s wrong with everybody!” she demanded to know through her sobs and tears. “Everything was fine last year,” she continued. “Now, a person can’t talk right, walk right, dress right, or be right—ever!”
My heart broke for her. I reassured her that I knew actually what she was going through. I’ve been there, done that, and burnt the T-shirt!
I tried to explain that hormones where the biggest culprit. Kids are transforming into young adults and they were confused about who they are and the changes that are taking place. Developing an attitude is their way of disguising their fears and appearing as if they’ve got it all together. When in truth, they are simply trying to find their place in this new adventure called adolescence.
As we talked, I couldn’t help wonder how many times a day clothes, music, language or illegal substances are used to pressure our teens. Not to mention the pressure of fitting in or being left out. At this age, the opinion of their peers is very important to them, so they can easily be led astray.
Whether we realize it or not, our kids are carrying a heavy load plied on by their peers, television, school, and yes—even home.
In each of these areas, our kids are making quick decisions every day. Some of those choices may affect them for the rest of their lives.
It’s very important as parents to prepare your child to face the challenges he or she meets in their world. Here are a few things you and I can do to help.
1.) Keep him or her knowledgeable and accountable about what’s right and wrong according to God’s word. Role-play with your teen so that she or he knows what to expect and how to respond ahead of time. A clear plan developed in advance could be their salvation in the midst of a dangerous situation.
2.) Keep the communication lines open and get to know your child’s friends. Knowing who your teen’s friends are is key, and the only way to do that is by having an open house. Don’t worry about dishes in the sink or dust on the furniture. They will never notice. Kids are looking for a place to hang out and be themselves. Provided that atmosphere and you’ll be given a voice of influence into their lives.
3.) Most of all, pray without ceasing, a prayer like this every day for your teen.
“Dear Lord, I pray a hedge of protection around my child today. I ask that you send Godly relationships into his or her life and protect him or her from the bad ones. I ask that you work in my child’s heart so that he or she will develop a keen sense of right and wrong according to Your Word. I pray that he or she will hate all that is evil and cling to that which is good. And guide my child, Lord, down the path of righteousness. Equip him or her with courage to make right choices even everyone else is choosing wrong. In Jesus name a-men.